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Nat Prod Res. 2010 Nov;24(18):1747-57. doi: 10.1080/14786410903314492.

Inhibitory effect of silibinin on tumour necrosis factor-alpha and hydrogen peroxide production by human monocytes.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Biosciences Institute, São Paulo State University, Botucatu, SP, Brazil.


Silibinin is a chemically defined flavonoid and the main active component of silymarin, a polyphenolic complex from Silybum marianum, which has anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective and anticarcinogenic properties. Monocytes obtained from healthy individuals were incubated with silibinin to evaluate cell viability, hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) release and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) production by these cells. The duration of treatment and different silibinin concentrations had no significant effect on cell viability. Monocytes showed a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on H(2)O(2) release by phorbol myristate acetate-stimulated monocytes in silibinin concentrations ranging from 6.25 to 50 µg mL(-1). Significant inhibition of TNF-α production by lipopolysaccharide-stimulated monocytes was observed at concentrations of 12.5, 50 and 100 µg mL(-1) of silibinin. These results suggest that silibinin exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties on human monocytes through an inhibitory effect on H(2)O(2) release and on TNF-α production, respectively.

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